Sandan’s Pyre, Imperial Funeral Pyres

So I’m a little obsessed with what we do and do not know about the god numismatists call Sandan and others call Sandas or Di Sandas (Disandas, Desandas) or Ba’al Tars or even Tarsos.

One interpretation of the coin imagery is that it represents the Pyre which we here about  as a central ritual in the worship of “Heracles” at Tarsus.


Antiochus VII Euergetes, 138 – 129 BCE
164-27 BCE
under Marcus Aurelius
Image of Clay Plaque from Mastrocinque’s piece cited below.

While I’m not convinced that these must represent a pyre, a monument seems to be more likely, I would note there is a bit of similarity to the imperial funeral pyres…

Caracalla for Severus
Aurelius for Pius


Lots of primary sources are well collected by A.B. Cook in his Zeus (1914), p. 593ff.

So far the best modern treatment I’ve read is Attilo Mastrocinque’s 2007 piece.

Older meaningful returns in L’Année philologique and JStor are minimal:

Levy, G. R.. “The oriental origin of Herakles.” The Journal of Hellenic Studies (1934): 40-53. Doi: 10.2307/626489

Huxley, George L.. “Sandas in Cappadocia.” Philologus CXXVI (1982): 315-316.

Şahin, Hamdi. “Neue Vorschläge zur Lesung von mittelkilikischen Inschriften. 1.” Epigraphica Anatolica, no. 36 (2003): 153-155.

Krappe, Alexander H. “The Anatolian Lion God.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 65, no. 3 (1945): 144-54. doi:10.2307/595818.

Tarn, W. W. “A Greek Inscription from Kurdistan (C. I. G. 4673).” The Classical Review 43, no. 2 (1929): 53-55. (with reference to Tac. Ann. 12.13)

Jongkees, J. H. “Gottesnamen in Lydischen Inschriften.” Mnemosyne, Third Series, 6, no. 4 (1938): 355-67.

I’m sure there is more our there that I haven’t tracked down yet.


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